Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kid PJs

Don't they look so cute and sweet.  You should have seen some of the out takes it took to get this one.  The truth is I didn't start making Christmas pjs until a few years ago when I realized that scrap-booking the Christmas morning pictures would be much easier if everyone had on coordinating outfits that also matched all the pretty Christmas paper and background available.  I've got to say though this year was particularly exciting bc I bought Grinch fabrics for the kids.
Elijah's top was made using the Simple Simon tutorial.  I was really exited to find this one after the front of the Easter pj's nearly brought me to tears.  For the most part I liked it though I think if I use it again say this spring I will base it on a shirt pattern rather then cutting up a tee.  I also think if I use it again say next November I would consider making the body part of the top fully lined instead of using the bias binding.  The only change I made this time was adding a bit of a facing to the front so that the snaps would be more secure.
Emily's nightie was made from the night gown pattern in Otto 6/2011. The pattern is for knit fabrics so I made the top part out of some what with pink polk-a-dot knit.  The bottom part is from the the Cindy Lou Whoo woven fabric I just added a little extra width.  I also made the whole thing in a 104 with no seam allowances.  I really love this pattern but it was awful to trace.  I do a lot of ottos and they are all bad but this one was so bad I had to draw over the lines with marker just to be able to see them.  I'm not trying to put you off from making it just warning you that the tracing will not be pleasant.
Elijah's pants were based on the boy pj shorts from the same issue.  I promise they were long enough a month ago when I made them but the bugger just keeps getting taller.
Emily's pants are the leggings from Otto 6/2010. 
I hope you all had a great Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sewing Industry R and P

Sew Mama Sew is doing a Link party to see everyone's sewing industry reflections and predictions this year so of course I couldn't help but to throw in my two cents.

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
One word Pinterest I think it has changed the game.

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year? This was the year I started blogging specifically about sewing so that has changed my prospective on many things.  Its also the year I became active on pattern review and learned from the ladies there that big 3 patterns are not evil.

What did you make that you’re most proud of? (Share a photo in your post!) Emily's Easter Dress.  I took an heirloom sewing class at the end of last year with one goal in mind.  To make Emily a real heirloom style Easter dress and I think it turned out beautifully.  Oh and guess what ladies heirloom sewing is actually not that hard it just takes time.

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love? I couldn't possibly pick just one.  I've seen so much that is just incredible.  I think though I'm most impressed with the dresses the Sew Weekly ladies have made.  I'm afraid that's as specific as I can really be.
Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend? I got brave and made jeans this year so absolutely the Jalie Jeans pattern

Are there any trends you’re over and done with?  New peasant dress/top patterns.  Don't get me wrong I have a few and I love a peasant dress but seriously ladies we have enough so to all the independent designers out there I say, "please no more."  If you've got a great twist write a tutorial on how to modify what you have but lets be a bit more original.  Oh and readers if you don't have one and want one I have the book Little Girls Big Style and it has one with just about every modification you could need.

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate? As I said this was my first year blogging.  I love how it causes me to think more about my projects and I love having a record of what I've made.  I don't love worrying about how many hits I have.  I'm working on letting that one go though.  I'll also say that I am much more likely to share my work on sites that let me put a link to my blog rather the retyping all of the information.  

Did you have a favorite fabric collection or print in 2011? nope

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry? I'm not sure.  I got the Colette book and the Burda Style book for Christmas and I'm loving the idea of sewing books and patterns that expect us to really learn how to sew and fit rather then just slap a belt on a sack and call it good.  I hope this will continue.  I also love that both books have really good instructions and hope this will continue as well.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals? My big goal for 2012 which I will be blogging about is to go all year without purchasing a single pattern.    I've got a lot so you will still see plenty of new stuff from me but I have a bit of a pattern buying problem that will be stopping cold turkey on January 1st.  I will be using patterns and books that I have and modifying them to fit my needs. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Layered Skirt

I few weeks ago someone on sewing mamas posted a picture of a skirt hoping there was a tutorial for something similar.  Now of course there are tutorials for something similar as there are really only so many ways to make a skirt but the skirt stuck in my head just the same.  It didn't help that its a Lands End skirt and since we buy a decent amount of stuff from them it kept showing up on my side bar adds but oh well.  I decided to make my own version and attempt another tutorial.  Its a little math heavy but that's just bc I'm a math person so that's how I do things.
Looking at the pictures I decided that the key elements that I wanted to replicate were the contrast bias trim and the proportions of the three ruffles.  I decided to gather the bottom two ruffles to a lining and then have the top ruffle start at the top of the lining.  This was to reduce bulk just a bit and because I wasn't sure if I had enough fabric.  This meant I needed to cut 5 pieces:  three ruffles, a lining piece, and a waistband.  I'm going to tell you how I calculated their size and what size the ended up bring for Emily who has a 21 in hip measurement and is 13in from the waist to the knee.
Waist band = hip measurement (or waist which ever is larger) + 3in ease + 1in seam allowance
For Emily W=25in  I choose to make it 3in wide

Length of all three tiers together = waist to knee-waist band width-1in seam allowance
For Emily this was 11 but I used 12 since that makes the math so much easier.

Tier width is waist band width times 1.5 so 37.5 for Emily plus .5 seam allowance 

Tier 1 is 2/3s of the total tier length so in our case 8in plus seam allowance which so I cut it 8.5 wide 

Lining= (tier 1 length not including seam allowance)-2in  You will need to add 1 in seam allowance when your cut.  For Emily this was 6in+1in seam=7in

bottom Tier = (total skirt length)-(lining length not including seam allowance) +0.5seam allowance
For Emily 12-6=6in+.5in=6.5in

Middle Tier=(bottom tier not including seam allowance)-2in +0.5in  For Emily 4.5in
OK still with my I hope.  You'll also need to either buy or make some bias binding.  I'm sure there are some tutorials out there for that but I'm not going to cover it here.  All the math is really pretty simple the seam allowances are just a little odd bc some pieces are sewn on both sides and some are only sewn on one.  I used a 0.5in seam allowance for all my seams and cut my bias binding 2in wide.

Sew all three tiers into big rings and bind the bottom of each tier with your bias binding.

Gather the bottom two tiers together and sew them to the bottom of the lining.

Gather the top ruffle and sew it to the right side of the lining.

Then sew the waist band to the skirt with right sides together.

Add elastic and finish the waist band then your good to go.
I hope that all made pretty good sense. I just wanted to add that if I were using lighter weight fabric I might make the ruffles twice as wide instead of 1.5 times. Also if you want to cut the ruffles in two pieces so that you have two side seams instead of just one that is fine just remember to add the seam allowences for the extra side seam.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Neil's New PJs

Did you ever wonder what a fully grown man would look like in a blanket sleeper? Well here you have it. This is my husband Neil in his new Christmas PJs. He is thrilled and he works from home so I have a feeling I'll be seeing quite a lot of these this winter.

I was not planning on making grown up Christmas pjs this year until I was looking through the McCall's book at a pattern sale and stumbled upon M6251 the same day that fleece was on a pretty good sale.  You see I know my man well and the way to his heart is through soft fuzzy nonbinding clothing.  I thought about making it as a gift but I wanted to be able to try it on him during the process plus it was going to be hard to hide 5 yards of fleece anywhere in the house.
I'm pretty pleased with the results.  I did not follow the zipper directions well and you can tell if you look closely but I didn't have it in me to take it out and fix it considering that these will NEVER be worn out of the house.  If I make him another pair I will add a bit to the rise and since this in a unisex pattern he is in the largest size so that is worth noting if your going to make a giant fleece suit for yourself or your husband.
Hope this makes you smile.  It actually is a good pattern and he is quite pleased.  I believe he is wearing them as I type.  I'll try to get the kids pjs posted tomorrow.  None for me though.  I ended up buying mine at Old Navy.  Perhaps now that I know how to trace pants I'll make myself some next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 for 12

Well at least 12 for 12 in my book. This year sewing mamas did monthly challenges and this is my entry for challenge number 12. I really liked the monthly challenge format. It makes things feel a bit more manageable and got me to try a good number of things I might not have otherwise done. This month was upcycling and while there was nothing overly hard about what I did its also something I had not done before.

I traced or more precisely cut around a pair of pj pants to make another pair.  I know this isn't always upcycling but I used a pair of Nick and Nora jamies that were just too short for me to make a pair for Emily.  That's what I get for not trying on something at Target but I digress.
Yes you are seeing this correctly Emily is in pants. Maybe this means a cute pair of otto sailor pants is in her future.   She still likes to sleep in nighties but a few weeks ago I bought her a pair of fleece pj pants and she fell in love with them so of course she needed more.  Either that or I was going to have to do laundry way more often then I would like to.
As you can see they are just a bit long but the way my kids grow I'm good with that.  I'd like to get at least a full winter out of these if not two.  Two would be even better.  I'm not sure if I will do the sewing mama's challenges next year or not.  It depends on what they are among other things but I'm glad to have done them all this year.  After all this means I met at least one of my sewing goals for 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Tree Skirt

Does this ever happen to you? You see a pin on pinterest and hope its a tutorial? Then you click on it and realize no its a etsy listing. Then you think yeah but I could totally make that and I'm just not willing to spend so much on something I can make myself. Then you get going on the project and realize why the item was priced as it was and begin to think it would have been totally worth the money.

That's what happened to me here. Now I want to be clear that I do not think most things on etsy are overpriced considering the effort they take its just that I sew and have trouble buying things that I would enjoy making myself.  Despite the fact that this lady does beautiful work.

I really only used the pin for inspiration anyways.  Mine is a full circle skirt made of fleece.  I actually cut the inner hole a bit to big so I had to gather it in a bit.  Then I sewed lace over the gathering to help hold it in place and add a bit of detail.
My flowers are also fleece.  I made them using the largest two circles from my Creative Memories cutting system.  The circles are sewn together then clustered all around the skirt.  I learned how to do this from a tutorial a year or two ago but now I can't for the life of me remember where it was.
Here's an action shot.  I'm really pleased whit how this thing turned out but it took both a lot of fabric and a lot of time so I won't be doing another any time soon.  It wasn't hard just time consuming.

Friday, December 16, 2011


After making my snapfish photo books this year I started looking at the photo ornaments. I usually buy one for us plus a few for gifts but this year I just couldn't bring myself to pay $20 plus shipping for something with a tiny little blurry picture of my kid on the front. I'm not sure if they had gone up in price this year of if it was just all the cool ideas I'd seen on pinterest lately but I decided to make my own instead.

I decided to do something similar to this.  I didn't do the scrap book paper on the back though I just panted mine and wrote the info on the back with a silver pen.  I also wanted mine to look a little dreamy so I put a very thin coat of silver pant over the final coat of modge podge. 

I edited my pictures and made them black and white then printed them out using our laser printer.  I cut them the same size as the wood hearts but if I do this again next year I will cut them a bit smaller. 

Hope you like.  Especially if your my Aunt Janet since one is on its way to you as we speak.  These were fun to make and I will probably make them again.  Though this years pictures may be hard to top.  I really lucked out on these and managed to take most of them while Elijah and Emily were not paying attention to me.  I've just not been so into the smile right at the camera pictures lately.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

purple princess

Emily and I had tickets to Princesses on Ice this past Saturday.  I had actually known this for months but somehow it got to last Thursday when we saw a little girl at the mall in a Rapunzel dress that I gave any thought to what she would wear.  Now I understand that a sane woman at this point would have said her old somewhat awful looking bc it was made from costume satin and has been worn to death one would be fine.  For that matter a sane person might also say she has plenty of clothes she can wear whatever but my friends I am not that person.  Instead I went to Joanns after I exercised Friday morning to buy the fabric to make her a new dress for Saturday night.
These pictures were taken at twilight so they are not the greatest but I still think you can see the dress pretty well.  This one was made using the Sweet Little Princess dress pattern that I tested and highly recommend.  Its also made of quilters cotton so it should wash and dry well.
Here she is showing you how well it twirls.  The skirt is a full circle skirt so it has great twirl power.  That is one of the things I really like about the pattern.  I also like that the designer includes a lot of different elements so that you can make many different princesses dresses using the same pattern.  Unfortunately, this is a 4-6 and while she has growing room the pattern does not come any bigger.  If it did I'd have several friends making birthday requests for their daughters.   The bodice looks more fitted then it usually would bc I shirred the back instead of using elastic casings to save time.
Hope you like it.  Emily sure does.  I do to though I do not enjoy rushing through projects.  I got this done in about 3 hours including cutting but I would have preferred to take my time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


When the new Vogue patterns came out this fall I was immediately drawn to V1261. I was hoping that it would be similar to an anthro top I bought last year. This pattern is more of a tunic though. I should also disclose that its one of those tops that looks better in person then in does in pictures or at least I think it does.

I made it out of some lovely purple bamboo fabric that I got a really good deal on a while back.  I was not sure if I wanted to use it for a top or a dress but decided it was not quite think enough for the bottom part of a fitted dress. 
I think it looks a bit better belted but I'm not a huge fan of wearing a belt all day so we'll see.  It also looks better with a more supportive bra but I guess everything really does.
I was worried about fit because I was cutting a medium so when I cut the pieces on the fold I didn't take out the seam allowance and I used .5in allowances instead of 5/8.  Hindsight being what it is I think the fit would have been better if I hadn't made these changes.  I ended up having to take a good bit out of the sides to keep it from looking like a maternity top and the neck is a bit too wide.
I doubt that I will make this pattern again.  I'm sure I will wear it but on me its not really long enough to be a tunic.  I'm wearing it with jeans in all of these pictures because it just doesn't provide enough butt coverage for leggings.  I think I will have to try tracing my anthro top if I want another one.
I'm also using this for my sew weekly challenge this week.  Its purple week over at sew weekly.

Monday, December 5, 2011

refashion voting

Hi all.  Just a quick note to let you know that voting is open on pattern review for the refashion contest.  There are some really neat things to see including my Smurf dress.  So if your a member go check it out a vote for me or someone else.  For that matter pattern review is a great site and the basic membership is free so if your not a member perhaps you should still go check things out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I've been really into feminine blouses this season. I'm not entirely sure why. I think I just like them as a way to make skinny jeans and boots look a bit more adult. I bought two from Old Navy that I love before I began looking for a pattern. After all JoAnns does not carry a lot of garment fabric that I like but they always have translucent prints that would be perfect for this type of blouse. I didn't find a big 3 pattern that was quite what I wanted though.

Then I came across the Colette Jasmine pattern.  Now if you remember my Easter dress you may know that while I find Colette patterns lovely I do not posess a body that fits her size chart well.  This is OK but it tends to give me pause when considering buying an expensive pattern.  This one was near perfect though so I took a chance.  OK took a chance and then to make the flat rate shipping worth while ordered the Ginger skirt as well.  I haven't even done a muslin of it yet though.  Soon I hope.
I know these aren't the best pictures.  We are still getting used to all the features on our new camera so my dear sweet best husband in the world took these at about 11 a few nights ago while I played back seat photographer.  I think you can see the shirt pretty well though.  I love that its bias cut so it clings to what curves I have nicely.  I did a 10 in the top tapering to a 12 for the hips.  I probably could have just done a 10 but I knew I would want to wear it untucked most of the time and didn't want it to be tight over my tum or tush.  It turns out there is actually a bit of extra room there but that's fine by me.
For the most part it was easy to sew.  I messed up the collar a little bit bc I used the interfaced piece for the outer collar and had to take the interfacing out but its still in the seams so it might lay just a bit funny.  I also lengthened the sleeves to about bracelet length.  It gets cool here in the winter and I didn't want to need a jacket in my house.  The other slight change I made was sewing the facings down but stitching in the ditch on the shoulder seams and the back seam.  This keeps them turned under nicely and the print is busy enough that you cannot see the stitching.  I would not do this for a solid though.
Speaking of the print if you have a keen eye and read Sew Weekly you may recognize it. See I'm the crazy person who snatched up the Second Rate Sorbetto fabric. I'm not sure why I bought it. Its not a color I usually go for and I certainly had no plan in mind but for some reason I simply had to have it. Now I glad I did. I hope to make some more of these. Yes its a bit distinctive but who really cares that much. I also hope to make a black Ginger to go with it.